They breed throughout Europe, Asia and western North America. North American shovelers winter in the southern and southeastern U.S., Mexico, and northern South America. Eurasian populations winter in northeastern Africa, India, southern China and Japan.
They live in and near wetlands – marshes, swamps and beaver ponds. They prefer vegetation for cover and need dry areas for nesting sites.
Males are slightly larger and more colorful than the females which are brown (sexual dimorphism). Males have a green, shiny (iridescent) head and neck with a large bill that is wider at the end. They have a distinctive white breast and bright brown sides. Both males and females have a blue wing patch. Both have yellow legs and feet.
They are are seen feeding with other ducks who churn up the water so they can strain food matter or they circle around to stir up the water themselves. They may also tip up into the water (dabble) or even dive. They may flock in small groups to feed and breed and gather in larger flocks for migration.
They eat insects, small fish and invertebrates like snails, crayfish, and spiders. They also eat plant matter taken in as they strain water for food. They use their spatulate bill to suck in water and then press it out through the sieve-like sides using their tongue to strain out food particles.
Females build a nest of grass lined with down that she pulls from her own breast. She then lays up to 11 dull green eggs. She incubates them herself for almost a month.
Genus: Anas (disputed)
Species: A. clypeata
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Amsel, Sheri. "Duck (Northern Shoveler)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2023. December 1, 2023
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